A Travellerspoint blog

September 2011

Shangrao & Life In The City So Far

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Do you ever wake wondering not only where you are; But do you ever wake wondering when you are?

Even though its much larger than most of the places I’ve lived and taught in prior to, caught somewhere between then and now, Shangrao city actually feels more like a country town than most which that makes its living from farming, along with some copper works and firework and tobacco factories thrown in. Unlike Shaowu in Fujian, the city and surrounding areas are relatively flat which for me who loves riding hills, is a tad too mundane and easy. None the less it really is a wonderful place to live and I have already found several bike rides that when put together take me around the outskirts of the entire city and takes between three to four hours to ride.

The time of course, depends on whether a random road or alley catches my interest.

I live in Shangrao County which is a twenty minute ride from the shopping district where all the glitz and glamour can be found mainly in and around the main Shopping Mall/Pedestrian Street. Here a tiny labyrinth of vibrant alleyways lined with smoky BBQ stalls caters to those with a snack need and where tuk tuks and peddycabs fight their way through the hustle and bustle of a China from yesteryear. Overshadowing the latter can be found modern multi-story shopping malls filled to the brim with everything that the Chinese of the new millennium needs to survive. A billion mobile phone and computer stores call out to those who require the latest devices to keep in touch along with clothing stores and restaurants (prices that make me cringe) that cater to those who have the need to be seen in all the right places dressed in the latest fashion.

Thankfully two cinemas and an in expensive Japanese restaurant can also found to satisfy my own cravings of what I believe to be 'modern & with the in-crowd’ but sadly though, GooTeens wasn’t the Japanese haven I was hoping for!

More than a handful of leafy green parks and gardens can be found scattered throughout the city which for me make wonderful A to B destinations on my rides and many of which I’ll throw together a blog for, so now I won’t bother going into detail. The Xingjiang River divides the city proper from the poorer farming areas where small villages can be found where they ‘were’ a century or so ago, but not as they were. Most now have been torn down and rebuilt with the more modern and eye offensive two to three story brick Chinese homes. Even sadder is the fact that I am yet to find a single village that can even begin to be compared to what is found only a twenty minute bike ride from Shaowu city in Fujian.

But I will find one, oh yes I will! As for ancient temples and pagodas?

Even though I was told that there were not many to be found, I have found more than several hidden away in the hills and behind the more modern facades in and around the city and for now, along with my Beers N Noodles, that is all I need to be happy.

<u>Now For a Bit on Shangrao City</u>

Shangrao City is located in the northeast of Jiangxi Province close to the borders with the provinces of Zhejiang in the east and Anhui in the north, while Fujian province lies to the south. Shangrao, whose name means &#8216;land of fertile richness’ in Chinese, has a long history. Different administrative agencies were set up in the region in ancient times and Shangrao once belonged to the Wu and Yue states during the Spring and Autumn Period (770BC-476BC). During the Sui Dynasty, the region was named Raozhou and then later (one thousand seven hundred years ago) it was called Poyang Shire and during the Tang Dynasty its name changed back to Raozhou.

Apart from being known for its wonderful countryside views, Shangrao also draws people's attention due the archaeological site of Xianrendong. This is where the earliest pottery artefacts discovered in China were found which tell that humans settled the area more than ten thousand years ago and that Shangrao is believed to be one of the birthplaces of paddy horticulture in the world.

Hills and low to medium high mountains are the main features of Shangrao's landform and it is separated by Wuyishan Mountain from Fujian Province in the south. In addition, it has Huaiyushan Mountains in the central region and offshoots of Mt. Huangshan in north boundary area with Anhui Province.

<u>Attractions</u>

Sanqing Mountain is a famous Taoist resort at the junction of Yushan County and Dexing City. The mountain contains ten scenic spots embracing natural wonders such as steep cliffs, cloud seas, conifers and waterfalls. There are two main tourist routes; the easier going southern route and the rugged north route which is more acceptable to those who love climbing.

Wuyuan County houses some of the most beautiful countryside in China and boasts multitudes of old trees, caves, ancient buildings and cultural relics. Vibrant yellow rape flowers spread into the depths of the valleys and some villages are hemmed in by rape fields. Each spring when the rape is in full bloom many visitors and numerous photographers are attracted to the area.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by WASP The album was &#8216;Unholy Terror’ ____________________________________________________________

Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


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Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

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Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

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Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

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Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

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Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


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Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

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Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


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Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


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Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

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Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


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Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far


Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

Shangrao &#38;amp; The City So Far

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

A Drunken Double Celebration

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

What a lucky boy I am! What a lovely English Teaching Team!

Wow, two festivals on the same weekend and to help celebrate, China of course needed a long weekend and to also help celebrate such an event Swedish Catrine boarded the night train and dropped in for the long weekend and a few too many beers!

<u>MID AUTUMN FESTIVAL</u>

Also known as the "Full Moon Festival," the Mid-Autumn festival falls on the fifteen day of the eighth lunar month. At this time, the moon's orbit is at its lowest angle to the horizon, making the moon appear brighter and larger than any other time of the year. In the Western tradition, it is also called the Hunter's Moon or Harvest Moon.

According to the lunar calendar, it is also the exact middle of autumn. Which begins in the seventh month and ends in the ninth.

To the Chinese, this festival is similar to the American Thanksgiving holiday, celebrating a bountiful harvest. Compared to many Chinese festivals that are inundated with vibrant colours and sounds, the Mid-Autumn festival remains more subdued. Traditionally celebrated outdoors under the moonlight, people eat moon cakes and gaze at the moon. In modern times, barbecues with families and friends are also common. On the evening of a Mid-Autumn Festival, families stay up late and get together eating moon cakes and gazing at the moon. Sitting around the table is called "Yuan Yue" (full moon) while going out on night streets is called "Zou Yue" (walking under the full moon).

<u>Legendary Origins</u>

Like most Chinese holidays, the mid-autumn festival is rich in oral history and legend. According to stories, Hou Yi was a tyrannical ruler who won the elixir of immortality by shooting nine suns out of the sky with his bow. But his wife, knowing that the people's lives would remain miserable for all eternity if Hou Yi lived forever, drank the potion. The fluids made her lighter, and she floated up into the moon.

<u>A Historical Anecdote</u>

The Mongol Hordes of Ghengis Khan subjugated the Chinese, and established the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th Century. However, many Chinese resented the fact that they were ruled by a foreign regime. In the 14th Century, Liu Bouwen helped plot the overthrow of the Yuan Dynasty by organising resistance and secret messages were passed along in moon cakes.

<u>Mooncakes</u>

The ubiquitous fare at any Chinese celebration of the Full Moon festival, moon cakes are a flaked pastry stuffed with a wide variety of fillings. Egg Yolk, lotus seed paste, red bean paste, and coconut are common, but walnuts, dates, and other fillings can be found as well. Most have characters for longevity or harmony inscribed on the top.

Special cakes can reach almost one foot in diameter.

<u>TEACHERS DAY</u>

In the history of Chinese education, Confucius is a paragon of all teachers, symbolizing the philosophy of "Educate all without discrimination, and teach according to the abilities of ones students." Using the six arts of rites, music, archery, chariot driving, learning (including reading and writing), and mathematics, Confucius had more than three thousand disciples during his lifetime. In practice of his credo, the Sage never refused a student because of his class or character, requiring only that his pupils possess a sincere desire to learn.

During the crisis of the 'Spring and Autumn Period', Confucius sought to end the chaos of the times. Believing this disorder to be a reflection of declining morals in society, he exhaustively toured the various warring Chinese states to advise rulers and officials on the merits of ethical rule. In his later years, Confucius reorganized the ancient texts, thus laying a solid foundation for China's enduring civilization.

In 1939 the Ministry of Education pronounced that Confucius' birthday would be celebrated on August 28, and designated it as Teachers' Day as well as a national holiday to remember Confucius' enormous contribution to Chinese culture and society. The date was changed to September 28 in 1952 in accordance with chronologists' new findings.

Today, Teachers' Day not only commemorates China's foremost teacher in history but also honours all teachers for their hard work during the year.

The first Teachers' Day was in 1931, the date was June 6, organized by a group of famous teachers without being officially approved by the Kuomintang Government. In 1939, the Kuomintang Government decided to set the Teachers Day on August 28 (Confucius's birthday), due to the turmoil, it was never carried out throughout the whole country. In 1951, the New China government decided to set the Teachers' Day on May 1, the same day with Labour Day, this wasn’t ever popular. Finally, teachers found a day to celebrate their glorious career in 1985, since then, on September 10 every year, teachers all over the country get special attention and gifts for their services to this country.

Every year during Teachers' Day, the Confucius Memorial Service is solemnly held at the Confucius Temple to show respect and honour for the Sage. At the "Teachers Day Celebration" held by the Ministry of Education and the various local governments, teachers with the highest seniority and best qualities are recognized for their contribution to society.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Marillion The album was 'The Thieving Magpie’ ____________________________________________________________

Drunken Double Celebrations

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Happy Birthday Travis

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

It took a single random text from his friend and within minutes there was a huge birthday dinner organised by the Chinese English Teachers which was a much more exciting night than what Travis and I had planned....a trip into the city and dinner at KFC.

I'm glad you had a bloody great night! Happy Birthday Mate!

  • **This blog is also for friends, family and those who read my blog who have been wondering where I have been over the past month since my last blog from Xingcheng city in Liaoning Province. I still have several blogs to catch up on but the short of it is that I forgot about my VISA Medical and had to race back to Fujian, I then got EXTREMELY sick with a high fever for almost a week which left me dizzy and weak for the following week or so. Since then I have moved to a new school in Jiangxi Province who have never dealt with Foreign Teachers before, so there has been some 'issues' when it comes to apartments, salary and other 'things' that Chinese 'Leaders' take for granted that 'lower' Chinese won't ever think about questioning.

I am not Chinese and I will always question and demand it be changed or fixed. It is a great school and the staff and students are wonderful. Things are 'clearer' now and we can all now move on. Several 'Past Blogs' will soon follow this. Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Pink Floyd The album was 'The Division Bell' ____________________________________________________________

Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis


Happy Birthday Travis

Happy Birthday Travis

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)